Statement by WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan
25 April 2009


Swine influenza


In response to cases of swine influenza A(H1N1), reported in Mexico and the United States of America, the Director-General convened a meeting of the Emergency Committee to assess the situation and advise her on appropriate responses.

The establishment of the Committee, which is composed of international experts in a variety of disciplines, is in compliance with the International Health Regulations (2005).

The first meeting of the Emergency Committee was held on Saturday 25 April 2009.

After reviewing available data on the current situation, Committee members identified a number of gaps in knowledge about the clinical features, epidemiology, and virology of reported cases and the appropriate responses.

The Committee advised that answers to several specific questions were needed to facilitate its work.

The Committee nevertheless agreed that the current situation constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.

Based on this advice, the Director-General has determined that the current events constitute a public health emergency of international concern, under the Regulations.

Concerning public health measures, in line with the Regulations the Director-General is recommending, on the advice of the Committee, that all countries intensify surveillance for unusual outbreaks of influenza-like illness and severe pneumonia.

The Committee further agreed that more information is needed before a decision could be made concerning the appropriateness of the current phase 3.

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